In the 1960s, the world was a simpler place. The Cold War structured the international system, sovereign states were the main international actors, physical (versus virtual) warfare was the main security threat, and economic barriers limited international trade
and finance. The news cycle was longer than 24 hours, and there was no internet. But today’s states and multinational organizations share a very different world with financial institutions and corporations, non-profit organizations, terrorists, drug cartels, even pirates. “Sovereign states” aren’t as sovereign as they used to be, and security threats include vulnerable financial markets, failed states, cyber threats, infectious diseases, terrorism
and climate change.
Today, two non-traditional actors – American private foundations and U.S. corporate philanthropies – exercise a degree of global reach and influence that once was the province of states and multinational organizations. Over just the last two decades, we have witnessed a huge increase in the number and size of private foundations and the scale of their international activities as they pursue social, economic and even political change. U.S. corporations also are increasingly global, and are involved in social, environmental, health and other public issues in the countries where they operate.
En route to a summit with President Obama, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited Brooklyn’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) for some fact-finding and possible inspiration for a P-TECH program in Australia. Prime Minister Abbott first heard about P-TECH in President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address. Upon his visit – during which he spoke with students, faculty and IBM mentors, and met with Principal Rashid F. Davis and myself – Mr. Abbott expressed his strong belief that P-TECH was “an innovative and valuable education model for us to consider in Australia.”
Though P-TECH started in New York City, it’s significance is being recognized across the country and around the world. A collaboration among employers and educators to reinvent American high school, connect education to jobs and close America’s skills gap, the
P-TECH movement is rolling across New York State (16 new schools this fall, with 10 more forthcoming) and Connecticut (which opens its first P-TECH school this September), along with five schools in Chicago and other locales in the pipeline. The fact that the Prime Minister of Australia wanted to see P-TECH for himself after hearing about it from the President of the United States and his staff clearly indicates that other leading economies are seeking ways to sharpen their competitive edge by transforming their high schools,
and that the innovative P-TECH model depends less on geography than on the will to embrace change.
The Australian economy faces many of the same challenges we see here in the U.S., including a worsening disconnect between education and industry in a time of upheaval across the higher education sector. It’s no wonder that Prime Minister Abbott would be interested in a school-to-career model designed to serve all children through a program that capitalizes on public-private partnerships, prepares its graduates for growth-industry employment, and makes these connections within existing public budgets. That’s the reason P-TECH is attracting interest from around the world and is being replicated so rapidly. Visitors from five continents have come to P-TECH to see innovation in action and get America’s best thinking on reinventing education.
Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and a former Deputy Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools.
When Typhoon Yolanda (also known as Typhoon Haiyan) slammed into The Philippines last November, its devastating impact underscored the need to manage our responses to natural disasters more effectively. That is why IBM collaborated with the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and trusted business partners immediately following the storm to develop an Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) for emergency management, and an Integrated Communications System (ICS) to enable the coordination of relief efforts across numerous government agencies. On May 29, 2014, IBM was proud to hand over the IOC and ICS to the people of The Philippines.
Enabled by an IBM Impact Grant of technology and services, the integrated operations and communications systems will allow the DOST to aggregate data from disparate sources, provide emergency managers with advance warnings for extreme weather events, and gather breaking information on disaster conditions from first responders. In addition, the new systems will use data analytics to enable more sophisticated disaster scenario planning that will help integrate and streamline responses.
Although as many as 80 percent of Ghanaian women seek prenatal care, HIV testing is often deferred due to a lack of public awareness, limited access to diagnostic tests and cultural stigma. As a tragic result, Ghana is among the world’s 22 countries with the highest burden of HIV infection in pregnant women. But Ghana is fighting back. President John Dramani Mahama recently announced the formation of a global consortium to reduce Ghana’s mother-to-child HIV transmission rate to less than one percent by 2020.
A critical component of the success of this vital mission will be Ghana’s collaboration with researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and expert strategists from the IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC). Using advanced IBM Data Analytics and SmartCloud infrastructure, the CSC/Yale School of Medicine team will work with Ghanaian policy makers and health care experts to design the first phase of shutting down mother-to-child HIV infection for good.
Today is Earth Day, when the world recognizes ways to make our planet greener and more environmentally sustainable. Unfortunately, the way the world works isn’t smart enough to be sustainable.
However, signs of a smarter planet have been popping up everywhere. Organizations around the world are turning too much data into better decisions. The walls between companies and customers are diminishing. So are the walls between technologies, industries and fields of expertise.
It’s been years since we learned that the world is “flat” and that all enterprises – whether commercial, governmental or non-profit – are globally connected. But what we’re still learning in this era of global integration is how to prepare the next generation of leaders to realize what we characterize as the triple benefit – developing their skills while solving communities’ problems and opening new markets. This isn’t just a “business” problem.
It’s an issue that impacts – and will shape the future of – almost every human endeavor
on the planet.
Running our cities, educating our children, protecting our health and sustaining our environment are just some of the world’s critical challenges that no single company or economic sector can address or solve alone. Mastering the world’s challenges requires the world’s collective intelligence and expertise and true collaboration. That’s why legacy models of top-down corporate philanthropy have become obsolete. In their place have arisen innovative approaches to transforming the ways we interact, learn and lead. At IBM, these approaches involve maximizing the value of our most important assets – the time and talent of our employees – versus merely donating our excess cash.
Today’s TIME Magazine cover story on IBM’s P-TECH-model school in Chicago is an across-the-board validation of everything that we and our partners in education and government are working to achieve:
- Transforming America’s approach to education and employment through innovation
- Contributing time, technology and expertise (not just cash) to affect meaningful and sustainable change
- Placing the needs of our clients – young people anxious to learn and succeed – first
The story of Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy on Chicago’s South Side, and the Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, New York is the story of a groundswell movement to break the cycle of poverty, rescue a generation (and a nation) from an uncertain future, and blaze a pathway to success that others can follow.
I recently had the privilege of visiting the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy on the south side of Chicago. Sarah Goode is a grades 9 through 14 P-TECH-model school that prepares students with the academic background and workplace skills they’ll need to enter industry or continue their educations. One of the most popular sayings at the school is “We Are Innovators!” I couldn’t agree more. But while innovation is pervasive at Goode, there also are invigorating doses of optimism and excitement among the students, staff and community. Educators and employers working together to connect training more directly to jobs is an idea whose time has come, and we should all be proud of what IBM, the Chicago Public Schools and Richard J. Daley College of the City Colleges of Chicago have accomplished – as well as the opportunities that lie ahead for Goode’s students.
I’d like to thank the dedicated IBMers who helped with my visit and who are critical to the success of Sarah Goode. These subject matter experts – along with the Chicago area IBMers who volunteer their time to mentor every student at the school – work tirelessly to serve the community through this program. They are wonderful representatives of the IBM company, and personify our company’s longstanding culture of service. IBM’s P-TECH-model schools in Chicago and New York are deservedly getting lots of good press, but it’s those who volunteer their time and expertise who help translate visions and ideas into positive outcomes that make our world a better place.
I’m always excited to witness the results of collaboration. When people work together across boundaries – focusing their energies on big-ticket problems that no single group can overcome alone – the results can change the world. We see it when governments collaborate with their citizens, and now we’re about to see it in the collaboration between IBM and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to create the world’s largest and most comprehensive cancer patient registry.
The joint effort will begin in sub-Saharan Africa, where less than 1 percent of the region’s
1 billion-plus population is included in a cancer registry. Registries provide governments, health workers and researchers with the data they need to develop, deploy and evaluate effective policies for cancer control. More immediately, cancer registries save lives by giving health care providers the information they need for intervention and customized care.
On Tuesday, November 19, I testified before the full U.S. House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee on the importance of improving the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to better prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs. This is the major source of federal support in the U.S. for career and technical education (CTE).
You can contribute to the ongoing conversation on this topic by using hashtag #perkinsIBM.